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Judicial conduct & complaints

Judicial conduct & complaints


Guide to judicial conduct

Guide to judicial conduct - PDF version


Judicial complaints procedure

Judicial complaints procedure - PDF version.

1. Any complaint against a Justice of the Supreme Court when acting in that capacity, by whomever received, shall in the first instance be passed to the Chief Executive. Complaints must be made within three months of the date for matters about which the complaint is being made. If the complaint relates only to the effect of a judicial decision or discloses no ground of complaint calling for consideration the Chief Executive if he thinks it appropriate, shall take no action save to inform the complainant (if identifiable) that no action will be taken.

2. In any other case the Chief Executive shall refer the complaint to the President, unless the complaint relates to the President, in which case it shall be referred to the Deputy President, unless the complaint relates also to the Deputy President, in which case it shall be referred to the most senior member of the Court to whom it does not relate.

3. The President or Deputy President or Senior member, as the case may be, (hereafter "the appropriate member"), shall then consult the next senior member of the court to whom the complaint does not relate and, having done so, may:

  1. take no action; or
  2. bring the complaint to the notice of the member who is the subject of the complaint and resolve the matter informally; or
  3. consider taking formal action as defined below.

In the event of either 3(i) or 3(ii) being pursued the reasons for that action being taken should be recorded and filed.

4. Consideration of taking formal action will be appropriate, whether or not any complaint is made, where a member of the Court is finally convicted of any offence which might reasonably be thought to throw serious doubt on that member's character, integrity or continuing fitness to hold office or where a member's conduct otherwise appears to be such as to throw serious doubt on that member's continuing fitness to hold office.

5. Where formal action is under consideration the appropriate member shall (1) inform the member who conduct is in question of that fact and of the matters alleged against him or her, (2) inform the Lord Chancellor of the facts so far as they are known, and (3) consult the Lord Chancellor on the action to be taken.

6. Having taken steps listed in paragraph 5 above, the appropriate member may, if it is considered appropriate to do so, initiate formal action.

7. Formal action shall mean:

  1. that a tribunal is established comprising the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, the Lord President of the Court of Session and the Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland (or, if any of them is disqualified, the next most senior Judge in that jurisdiction) and two independent persons of high standing nominated by the Lord Chancellor, to be chaired by whichever of the three first-named office-holders has longest held his or her office;
  2. that the member whose conduct is in question shall be informed of the full details of what is said against him or her;
  3. that the tribunal shall investigate the accusation or complaint adopting such procedure as shall be fair and as expeditious as it consistent with fairness;
  4. that the tribunal shall make a report summarizing the facts as found by the tribunal so far as relevant and recommending the action, if any, to be taken;
  5. that the tribunal shall deliver this report to the appropriate member and provide a copy to the member whose conduct is in question;
  6. that the appropriate member shall deliver the report to the Lord Chancellor;
  7. that the Lord Chancellor shall decide whether to initiate action to remove from office the member whose conduct is in question and, if he judges it appropriate to do so, shall take such action pursuant to section 33 of the Constitutional Reform Act 2005.

8. Whether or not the Lord Chancellor decides to take action to remove the member from office, he or she may publish the report made by the tribunal.

9. The member against whom a complaint or accusation is made may at any time vacate his or her office voluntarily, without prejudice to any other action which may be taken against him or her, and formal action may be discontinued at any stage.

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UKSC complaints procedure (non-Judicial)

UKSC complaints proceedure (non-Judicial) - PDF version.

The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom (UKSC) was established by the Constitutional Reform Act 2005. It is a non-Ministerial department.

The Court hears appeals on arguable points of law of the greatest public importance, for the whole of the United Kingdom in civil cases, and for England, Wales and Northern Ireland in criminal cases.

Additionally, it hears cases on devolution matters under the Scotland Act 1998, the Northern Ireland Act 1988 and the Government of Wales Act 2006.

Complaints about decisions made by the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom

The UKSC is the final court of appeal in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and for civil matters from Scotland. As such its decisions cannot be appealed in the United Kingdom and there is no avenue to complain about their merits.

The complaints procedure detailed below gives information about the handling of complaints against the conduct of members of staff, about the UKSC's administrative procedures, or about a policy or administrative decision taken by the UKSC. There are separate procedures for complaints about the conduct of the Justices or the Registrar in the performance of their judicial functions.

Requests for Information or personal data

Requests for recorded information or personal data held by the UKSC are handled under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act (2000) or the Data Protection Act (1998) as appropriate. If you are dissatisfied with a response you receive to any such request, there is a separate procedure for handling these as set out in the Acts. If you want to make an FOI request you should contact -

Freedom of Information
The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom,
Parliament Square,
London,
SW1P 3BD

Email

foi@supremecourt.uk

If you want to make a request for personal date you should contact:

Data Protection
The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom,
Parliament Square,
London,
SW1P 3BD

Email

data.protection@supremecourt.uk

Complaints about a member of staff or the UKSC's administrative procedures

If you have a complaint about a member of the UKSC staff (except the Chief Executive) or about its administrative procedures or non - judicial policy decisions you should write giving details of the complaint and your name and address to:

Victoria Marwood
Information, Governance and Complaints Officer
The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom
Parliament Square
London
SW1P 3BD

Email Complaints

If you have a complaint about the conduct of one of our consultations you should write giving details of the complaint and your name and address to:

Sam Clark
Director of Corporate Services
The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom
Parliament Square
London
SW1P 3BD

Email Sam Clark - contact details as above.

Complaints about UKSC administrative policies

If you have a complaint about the merits of any UKSC policy you should write to -

Vicky Fox
Chief Executive
The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom
Parliament Square
London
SW1P 3BD

Email Vicky Fox

How will my complaint be handled?

Our policy is to respond to all enquiries promptly and courteously. We treat all complaints seriously and aim to reply to them within 20 working days. If we cannot do that, we will keep you informed of the progress we are making with your complaint. If we decide your complaint is justified we will apologise and explain how we intend to put the situation right.

We record all complaints so that we may learn from them. If we cannot resolve your complaint we will inform you of any steps you can take if you want it investigated further. Please note that we will not respond to rude or abusive letters, emails or telephone calls.

If your complaint is about a member of the UKSC's staff or about its consultation or other administrative procedures or decisions the Director of Corporate Services will look into the complaint and provide you with a reply. If you are not satisfied with the response, you may write to the Chief Executive at the UKSC's address above or by email to Vicky Fox using the contact details given above.

If your complaint is about a UKSC policy, the Chief Executive will appoint a current or former Non-Executive Director, who was not involved in the decision to implement the policy which is the subject of the complaint, to investigate the complaint and report their findings to her. The Chief Executive will then respond to the complainant.

If your complaint is about the Chief Executive

If your complaint is about the conduct of the Chief Executive, you should write, giving details of the complaint and your name and address to:

The President
The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom
Parliament Square
London
SW1P 3BD

Or email the Personal Secretary to the President of The Supreme Court.

The President will then ask a Non-Executive Director of the UKSC to investigate your complaint and, after reporting back to the President, to then respond to you.

Still not satisfied?

If you are not satisfied with the response you receive from the Director of Corporate Services, the Chief Executive, or, in the event of a complaint about the Chief Executive, the response you receive from the person appointed by the President to investigate your complaint, you may ask the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman to investigate.

The Ombudsman is completely independent from Government and the Civil Service. They investigate claims that individuals have suffered because a government department, agency or other public body has not acted properly or fairly or has provided a poor service.

You cannot approach the Ombudsman yourself, but may ask a Member of Parliament (MP) to do this for you. You can get a leaflet which explains how the Ombudsman might be able to help by telephoning their helpline on 0345 015 4033. More details can be found on their website www.ombudsman.org.uk.

Complaints about the conduct of a Justice or the Registrar

If you have a complaint about the conduct of a Justice or the Registrar you should write giving details of the complaint and your name and address to Vicky Fox, Chief Executive, whose contact details are given above. Your complaint will be dealt with in accordance with the UKSC's Judicial Complaints procedure, which is set out elsewhere.

Government Policy

We do not deal with complaints about Government policy. If you have a complaint about Government policy, you should write to your MP or to the relevant Government Department's Minister.

23 October 2020

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